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Radiation shielding — experts share tips to get the most value

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | September 11, 2019
Business Affairs
From the September 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Shield for existing or future throughput?
“Some may argue to shield for the existing workload and if the workload increases, add more shielding,” said Petrone. “Even if this would be possible, it is a dangerous selection, analogous to being penny wise and pound foolish.”

He added that the likelihood that a facility will forget to redo their shielding design, leaves them open to a noncompliance situation, which could be dangerous for the surrounding areas.

To prevent all of that, he recommends projecting how the caseload may increase over the lifetime of the unit before installing any radiation equipment. By doing that, the initial design will never have to be revisited.

“Most professionals would advise to project the absolute maximum steady state average workload that would ever be reached during the life of the machine,” said Petrone.

Martin agrees that new and/or growing facilities should always be looking 10 years down the road to anticipate future growth. That can range from considering additional future patients in a single space to including extra space adjacent to the current bunker in a design to easily add treatment rooms in the future.

“Adding extra layers of material to a room during initial construction is much more cost-effective than having to add shielding later,” he said. “Existing facilities with multiple treatment spaces in operation are usually adding equipment for more strategic reasons and should consider the extra shielding costs in conjunction with their ability to split additional workload over multiple treatment spaces.”

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